Google unveils Chrome OS features, Web Store and more

Google held an event this afternoon to showcase its upcoming Chrome OS software for notebooks. Chrome OS is basically an operating system based around the Google Chrome web browser. It’s designed to surf the web and run web apps rather than native apps — although users will be able to run some web apps such as Google Docs even when there’s no Internet connection available.

Chrome OS won’t be ready for the public until next year, but today Google emphasized several key features. That includes the speed of the OS and the browser, with enhancements like “Crankshaft”, graphical acceleration that can take advantage of GPU hardware acceleration and WebGL. The company also stressed the simplicity of design and use, and security of the upcoming Chrome 9 and OS platform.  The Chrome OS even supports a guest mode that runs in Incognito mode to ensure privacy and a new user account can be set up in under a minute, even on a freshly installed system.

Additional features like Chrome Sync will let you sync everything now, bookmarks, extensions, and other data. Google says it will take less than a minute to set up a new Chrome OS netbook, since you just have to login to your account to retrieve your data.

Google also unveiled the Google Web Store today, which will let users “install” web apps in Chrome. The store appears to have a well designed interface and potentially very useful apps, such as NPR, Amazon Windowshop and New York Times apps and games like “Poppit.” While app purchases are naturally tied to your Google account. It remains to be seen how Google’s web store will compare to other app stores like the iTunes App Store or Google Android Market — especially since the apps can all be run in any modern web browser that supports the same web standards as Chrome, but the apps look intriguing .

The Web Store is already open for business, and users can install apps using the Chrome web browser or Chrome OS operating system.

The first notebook to run Chrome OS will be the Cr-48, a notebook Google will be rolling out in small quantities as part of a pilot program. Next year Acer and Samsung are expected to launch the first commercially available Chrome OS notebooks.

Or if you don’t want to wait that long to use an operating system designed around web apps, you could always download Jolicloud 1.1, which was released today.

  • coffee cup

    Didn’t Google get the message that all of these tablets are killing every other device with a keyboard? Desktops DEAD. Laptops DEAD. Notebooks DEAD. Netbooks DEAD. I mean, Android is one of the saviour operating systems that’s fueling the tablet revolution and liberating us from all of these icky digital typewriters. I wonder why after the fact Google is coming out with a traditionally targeted operating system. Either it doesn’t actually believe that these other computers are dead, or this is it’s bid to kill them.

    • Anonymous

      The hardware isn’t really the point for Chrome OS, it’s a push towards cloud computing where each device you access it with is essentially a network terminal.

      Keyboards though aren’t going anywhere as long as people need to be productive and not just consume content. Otherwise you wouldn’t be seeing so many tablets having keyboard accessories.

    • MonkeyKing1969

      Computers are dead?

  • Faheydm

    Is word-processing going to disappear? Some people use computers for more than entertainment.

    • Anonymous

      Apps like Google Docs will still support word-processing and other features besides simple entertainment.

      What is significant but not really highlighted in the list of features they just announced is support for off-line use of apps like Google docs, provided that the apps support that feature but they hinted that many would be.

      So the system can potentially still be useful when disconnected from the cloud and will quickly sync and update once reconnected.

  • Shepperd

    I installed Jolicloud and the bloody thing will not show a dual boot menu so I have no idea how to access Windows! otherwise it works (Medion Akoya) pretty well but nothing earthshaking, nor is it that fast to open apps.